The entire Shadow Cabinet should be forced to drink Waitrose’s free coffee
Ed Miliband’s more-Blairite-than-Blair triumph of breaking the power of the trade union bosses in the Labour Party was nearly overshadowed by a silly row about Waitrose’s free coffee.
Andy Sawford, a Labour frontbencher, criticised Waitrose for giving its customers free coffee (scroll down), because it undercuts coffee shops and “is acting in a way that will further destroy the British high street”.
Further to our recent debate about what a Blairite is, this incident offers a case study.
A Blairite leader of the party would, yesterday morning, on his or her way to the special conference, have stopped off at Waitrose in Canary Wharf with as many members of the Shadow Cabinet as could be rounded up at short notice to be filmed drinking the workers’ co-op’s free coffee and reading its free newspapers.
Sawford would have been required to withdraw his comments or be dismissed, and to have been filmed enjoying his local Waitrose’s free coffee in the company of Mark Price, the partnership’s managing director, who would have received a grovelling apology. (As it was, Sawford was gently disowned with a comment from Labour HQ: “Andy Sawford was raising an issue particular to his constituency. This is not something Labour is even remotely considering.”)
People who shop at Waitrose and who enjoy its free coffee, many of them of a certain age and a certainty to vote, are those among whom elections are won and lost. A Blairite leader would understand that. Miliband, for all that he is, as David Owen tautologically said, “brave and bold” about the link with the unions, does not.
PS. Downfall parodies are so yesterday, obviously. Except this one, made by Le Creuset Fiend.Tagged in: blairism, blairites, waitrose
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